Pune: India skipper Virat Kohli on Tuesday described the win in the opening ODI against England as one of their “sweetest in the recent past”, lavishing special praise on under-fire opener Shikhar Dhawan who struck form in the game.
Chasing 318, England had the game in the bag at 135 for no loss in the 15th over before Indian bowlers scripted a wining comeback with debutant pacer Prasidh Kumar snaring 4/54 — the best by an Indian on debut. This was after Dhawan’s 98-run knock.
“This is one of our sweetest wins in the recent past. This one is right up there with any other. Getting nine wickets so quickly is outstanding. To come back into the game the way they did is brilliant. I’m a really, really proud man right now,” said Kohli at the post match presentation post the 66-run win.
England collapsed to 251 all out after a flying start.
K L Rahul too was back among the runs after a lean T20 series.
“As I mentioned in the past as well, we promote players who have intent. Special mention to Shikhar’s innings as well. KL as well, back among the runs. We want to back the people who we know will go out and do a selfless job.
“For every spot we have two-three players available. Right now we are on the right path and have a big pool of players to choose from. Shikhar’s body language was amazing when he wasn’t playing. He was so helpful for us. Today he deserved the result.
“He batted in the most toughest phase today and got 98 which is more valuable than what the scoreboard shows,” said Kohli.
Dhawan said he was waiting to grab the opportunity after warming the bench in four T20s.
“I was doing good gym sessions, running sessions and net sessions (when not playing). All the smart work paid off. We knew ball was swinging and seaming as well, so we knew we had to stay at the wicket and play close to the body. I’m not a person who gets too sad or too happy.
“(I) wasn’t in a rush to score hundred. It happens. When I wasn’t playing I was like how I could give to the team. I was being a good 12th man, running around, serving water. In my head it was clear that when I get an opportunity, I will grab it,” said the man of the match.
England skipper Eoin Morgan said the team lacked in execution, which has been a constant on the tour so far.
“We did a lot of things right today. Wicket was brilliant as well which made for an entertaining game. There was something for the seamers but if you got in, you could score heavily too.
“Our bad days with the bat make it look worse than usual. Need to execute better than we did today. When you look at our top seven in particular, we’ve all scored under 60 ball hundreds. With one eye on the World Cup, we want to try and push the envelope in that regard. Sometimes it doesn’t work.”
Morgan said they will continue playing the game aggressively.
“For us it’s better to lose like that than losing by 10-20 runs. That’s the way we’ll continue playing. Important for us to dictate the way we play and reinforce the method that’s worked for us.
“Our bowlers did an outstanding job with traditional Test lengths and line that proved effective. Didn’t probably play well enough to take advantage of the dew. Which is disappointing because the toss is an advantage here in India,” he added.